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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Fulltiming in a smaller RV ?
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 1999 20:12:46 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Stephen Armstrong wrote:
> Hi there, we would like to hear views on fulltiming in smaller RV's, 24'
> Class 'C' down to perhaps the 'Alaskan Campers'. Also what is the Rolls
> Royce of small to medium size RV's. Thanks, do give us a shout.
> --
> Regards,
> Stephen

We've taken a couple of multi-week trips in MHs of that size class. 
We currently own a 21ft Itasca Class C which we dearly love.

here are some thoughts:

Positives - 

Drives like a large van.  Can park in normal parking places with
only little overhang.
Decent mileage.
Low operating costs.  Usually a car-type engine.  Parts are cheap
and available, as are mechanics to work on it.
easy to heat and cool - requires only a small generator and one AC.
easy to store.
you can go to all sorts of places where a larger MH either would not
fit or would not be welcome.

Negatives - 

Small.  Requires careful planning and stocking.  Only one person can
move around at once.
Really gets beaten up by cross winds and passing semi trucks.  Been
told that a steering stabilizer will help but have not tried that
Relatively large amount of rear axle overhang which makes towing
even a light weight utility trailer unpleasant.
A toad becomes impractical (if you're prudent) or very unpleasant.
Almost never has a basement of any sorts - Little storage space.
The weight will usually be right on the edge of the chassis rating -
limits what you can carry or tow.

Specific to fulltiming, here are some considerations:

Your bed will be multifunctional.  That is, it will be either a sofa
or a table or both.  That means it has to be made up every day. 
Gets to be a pain after about 3 days.

Storage space is very dear.  You can carry only a very limited
selection of clothes.  Food storage is even worse.  We found
ourselves doing laundry every couple of days and shopping for food
every day that we cooked in.  Unlike someone else mentioned, cooking
in is not a problem.  The hood and the AC takes care of fumes and

Exterior storage space is either limited or nonexistent.  I
fabricated a bracket that lets me carry a pickup bed-type plastic
box on my rear bumper.  This is my main exterior storage.  I have
also fabricated an aluminum roof rack that lets me carry my lounge
chairs on top.  I'd be afraid to put much more  up there.  No room
for a basement - the underside is completely filled with generator
and tanks.

Utilities are very limited.  It is typical to find 20-25 gallons of
fresh water and a similar amount of black water storage.  One RV we
had used a separate gray water tank and the one we have now
doesn't.  Didn't see much difference in operation - you're limited
by the amount of fresh water you can carry.  25 gallons will
basically do you for a day if you spend any time in the RV.  You'll
be looking to dump every day.  Stopped in one place with full
hookups partially alleviates this problem but it remains.

Water heater capacity is very limited - 5 gallons usually.  That
means that you and your spouse cannot take showers right after each
other.  Even a single shower is very limited.

Bathroom space is very dear.  If you're tall as I am, you'll find
the showers to be worthless.  I looked at a lot of RVs in this size
range and not a single one had a shower large enough for me.  I
finally resigned myself to remodeling my bathroom to fit my needs
and bought my MH based on other features.

We love our little MH for what we use it for - weekend trips and a
home-away-from-home for day trips and such, and an occasional week
long trip.  But I'd hate to think about trying to full-time in it.


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